Afghan women are not yet free

Regarding your Oct. 3 editorial "Afghan women": Improving the health and human rights status of Afghan women is critical to Afghanistan's reconstruction.

A recently released study in Herat Province that I conducted with Physicians for Human Rights found that Afghanistan suffers from the highest-known rate of maternal mortality outside the African continent.

When a mother doesn't survive childbirth in Afghanistan, the whole family suffers. The international community, especially the US, has both a moral responsibility and practical interest in tackling this tragically preventable problem.

Training local health professionals and providing increasing access to healthcare for women in rural communities are critical first steps. Though the Taliban rule has been toppled, Afghan women will not be truly free until the protection of their rights and their lives becomes a priority.
Dr. Lynn Amowitz
Physicians for Human Rights
Providence, R.I.

Who pays for insurance? We all do

Regarding your Oct. 4 editorial "Insurance and terrorism": Let's not forget that small, medium, and large businesses may be without some or any insurance whatsoever for damages caused by terrorist acts. Since Sept. 11, many more contractual endorsements have put limits on coverage available to US businesses.

Either they pay higher premiums for this coverage or risk losing everything. So, who is going to pay? Do all businesses and industries get the same government subsidies and handouts that the airlines do?
Curt Hellmer
Stoughton, Wis.

US is acting like rogue state

Your Sept. 30 editorial "Palace intrigue" caused me to think about who is the rogue state in the current situation in Iraq.

Even though Iraq has defied former United Nations resolutions mandating weapons inspections, they are now willing to let back in the weapons inspectors without conditions.

President Bush is threatening to go it alone with a preemptive strike if the UN fails to show any backbone, in spite of reservations by many of our allies and mounting criticism in our own country. This sounds like the characteristics of a rogue state.

Maybe Bush's tough rhetoric will force Saddam Hussein to comply with the UN and US wishes, thus settling the situation peacefully. Meanwhile, the US should listen to the international community and demonstrate the moral clarity that made us an example to the world.
Jay Mennenga
Wapiti, Wyo.

An ethnic culinary appreciation

Your "Letter from Lilongwe, Malawi" published on Sept. 30 was informative and interesting. I enjoyed reading this piece, as I do your other articles on Africa. But the author stumbled on one point by describing sima, the staple food of Malawians as "stiff, tasteless corn porridge." This was less flattering to the native people of Malawi to say the least, and culturally insensitive.
Vukani G. Nyirenda
Hollywood, Calif.

Fox-hunting is well-loved tradition

Thank you for the Oct. 3 article "Hounding the hunters." The fact that more than 400,000 people turned out for this protest shows the great interest in supporting this traditional activity.

The demographics of the participants in the London march shows that fox-hunting is not just a sport for the wealthy, as so often portrayed by its detractors. On both sides of the Atlantic, those that follow hounds come from all walks of life.
C. Thompson Pardoe
Glenwood, Md.

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